Since 1898, Lux Bond & Green Jewelers has been dedicated to offering truly extraordinary diamonds, jewelry, watches and gifts for the home.
May 4 benefit for CLASP. CLASP is a local not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Westport Dog Festival, Sunday, May 7, Winslow Park, 10-4
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Malloy Warns CT Employee Unions of Layoffs

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration notified state employee unions this week that nearly 1,100 workers could face layoffs in May — the first stage in an alternative cost-cutting plan if ongoing concessions talks aren’t successful.

This marks the second time in the past week that Malloy has hinted time is running out for unions to accept major concessions to help balance the next budget.

The governor, who expressed disappointment publicly last week that months of informal talks hadn’t produced a deal yet, this week took the first in a series of procedural steps to begin another round of state worker layoffs.

The administration specifically notified bargaining units that 11 departments and agencies had crafted plans that could affect close to 1,100 workers and also lead to elimination of about 120 unionized positions that currently are vacant.

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04/20/17 05:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Himes: Trump Driven by Ego ImageU.S. Rep. Jim Himes told the Y’s Men of Westport Weston today that President Trump has no discernible ideology, and what defines him is “a huge ego.” It is his ego “that helps fuel my tiny bit of optimism because you can work with someone who simply wants to have his name on stuff,” said Himes, whose 4th District includes Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for


04/20/17 01:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finance Panel Eyes Ending Sales Tax Exemption for Nonprofits

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The legislature’s tax-writing panel is considering a measure that would repeal the sales tax exemption on goods and services sold to nonprofits — a provision that saves these entities more than $200 million per year.

Democratic leaders of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee said this proposal, which will go to a public hearing next week, is part of an ongoing exploration of possible widening of Connecticut’s sales tax base.

But the top House Republican on the committee and the state’s largest nonprofit association cautioned it could harm the nonprofit community at a time when Connecticut relies on it the most.

“At this point we are just hearing it,” Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, House chair of the Finance committee said. “I think we have to take all (revenue) options seriously.”

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04/19/17 04:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Advocates for Teachers, Towns Say Voters Oppose Pension Cost Shift

By Keith M. Phaneuf

West Hartford — Lobbying groups for Connecticut teachers and municipalities today unveiled poll results showing 72 percent of voters oppose using local property tax dollars to fund a portion of the state’s pension program for public school teachers.

The survey, commissioned by the Connecticut Education Association and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, also found 64 percent of voters would cast ballots against legislators who back such a plan.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, which wants to shift one-third of a skyrocketing pension bill onto municipalities, responded that communities and teachers must accept that Connecticut must make tough choices to address long-ignored problems.

And while the advocates for education and municipalities insisted shifting pension costs onto the local property tax base was an unacceptable solution, they didn’t discuss how state officials should cover an expense projected to grow 525 percent over the next 15 years.

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04/18/17 03:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Malloy Won’t Seek a Third Term

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced today he would not seek a third term, setting the stage for a robust battle for the state’s chief executive post in 2018. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, flanked by wife Cathy (l), and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, at today’s news conference. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jacqueline Rabe Thomas/ photo

The Stamford Democrat, choked with emotion several times in a 35-minute news conference, pledged he would devote his remaining 20 months in office “to continue implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy.”

Malloy, 61, who is embroiled in tough negotiations both with legislators and state employee unions to close major projected budget deficits, also insisted his lame duck status would not be a hindrance and offered a word of caution to those who anticipate otherwise.

The governor, who has faced subpar public approval ratings for most of his tenure, also pledged not shrink from unpopular decisions as he finished his term.

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04/13/17 03:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

House OKs Auto-Dispensed Alcohol at Bars, Restaurants

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The House of Representatives today passed a bill that would enable bars and restaurants to sell beer and wine on their premises using an automated machine.

But while supporters said it would make it easier for some businesses to serve patrons, critics argued it would make it easier for minors to consume alcohol.

The measure, which passed 129-19, now heads to the Senate.

It would allow alcohol permit holders, such as restaurants and bars, to issue specially coded cards to patrons, who then could use them to draw beer or wine themselves from an automated machine on the site. The Department of Consumer Protection would have to develop regulations to implement this system by Oct. 1.

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04/12/17 04:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

State DOT Drops Study of Mileage Tax

By Keith M. Phaneuf

A political football in state transportation debates for the past two years — the concept of a mileage-based tax on motorists — apparently is no longer even a subject of research at the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The tax has been the subject of sporadic political jabs between Republicans and Democrats at the Capitol since word first broke two years ago that the DOT was researching this revenue-raising option.

But Transportation Commissioner James Redeker wrote last week in a letter to a regional transportation coalition that was coordinating research into this tax that his agency was halting its involvement because of budgetary issues.

“I regret to inform you that the state of Connecticut must withdraw from the coalition’s project on mileage-based user fees in a multi-state region,” Redeker wrote to the I-95 Corridor Coalition.

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04/11/17 06:12 PM Comments () • Permalink

A Tale of Four Broken Connecticut Cities Image
Stephen D. Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told the Westport Rotary Club today of the downward spiraling economies of four Connecticut cities in his message, “Connecticut’s Broken Cities.”  Eide, a Ridgefield resident who writes on public administration, public finance, political theory and urban policy, said that Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford are in desperate economic circumstances. He cited Hartford as the city in the worst shape with 34 percent unemployment and that bankruptcy is a potential option. Click HERE for the text of the study published in January by the Manhattan Institute and Yankee Institute. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


04/11/17 03:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Marpe-Tooker Way Ahead in Campaign Contributions

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and new running mate Jennifer Tooker are running way ahead in campaign contributions, according to the latest filings. Image
Jim Marpe and Jennifer Tooker: new GOP team. Contributed photos

Documents filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission showed as of Sunday, Marpe-Tooker for Westport had collected $13,930.

Michael Rea for Westport, the exploratory committee for possible Republican challenger Michael Rea, vice chairman of the Board of Finance, showed he collected $375 — from himself.

And Jonathan for Westport, the exploratory committee for Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, showed one $100 donation from Allen Bomes, his treasurer, who is a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

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04/11/17 11:18 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, April 10, 2017

Murphy Battles Trump on Foreign Policy, Undiplomatically

By Ana Radelat

Washington – Even as President Donald Trump aims to slash the State Department’s budget, Sen. Chris Murphy is battling the headwind in an effort to double the money appropriated for many diplomatic programs.

Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, has come up with “Rethinking the Battlefield,” his plan to promote diplomacy as an alternative to war and a way for the United States to increase its influence around the globe and boost national security.

At a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations today, Murphy said his plan to boost the State Department’s budget may not be possible in the fact of Trump’s attempts to downsize the agency.

“But it’s a marker,” he said.

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04/10/17 08:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, April 07, 2017

Ganim Takes a Step Towards a 2018 Race for Governor

By Mark Pazniokas

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim today took a tentative step toward a possible campaign for governor in 2018, asking the State Elections Enforcement Commission to clear him for the state’s public financing program, despite his corruption conviction.

“Today I am asking the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a declaratory ruling stating that I be allowed to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program should I seek statewide elected office,” Ganim said.

“I want to be clear that I have not decided to seek statewide office, but it is something I am considering. If I do seek statewide office, I am absolutely committed to transparency and clean elections, and I would want to participate in the program.”

Ganim, who was forced from office by his conviction in 2003, is testing whether a revision to the public financing program in 2013 that bars felons applies to candidates with convictions prior to passage. If formally denied by the State Elections Enforcement Program, Ganim could sue in Superior Court.

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04/07/17 09:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Senate President Calls for Optional Local Sales Tax Increase

By Keith M. Phaneuf

The top Democrat in the state Senate called today for an optional local sales tax increase to help cities and towns control property tax rates.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney of New Haven endorsed a local surcharge of one-half of 1 percentage point to the existing 6.35 percent state sales tax.

The plan, which Looney released as part of his agenda for the 2017 General Assembly session, echoes one portion of a plan released earlier this year by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

But it could put Looney at odds with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a fellow Democrat, who has said Connecticut should close a projected shortfall in the next two-year state budget without any major tax increases.

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04/07/17 04:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Blumenthal, Murphy Face New Senate Landscape After ‘Nuclear’ Deployment

By Ana Radelat

Washington — While angered that the GOP “went nuclear,” changing Senate rules to win confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Sen. Chris Murphy said he will still try to work with Republicans on common interests, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal warned of “repercussions.”

“It’s not going to change the way I operate,” Murphy said. “My job is to represent the people of Connecticut, not to play petty politics.”

He said he is sure “there are raw feelings” among Democrats about the GOP’s end run of a filibuster on Gorsuch. “But I’m not going to let my anger over the rules change my efforts to reach across the aisle to get things done for the state of Connecticut,” he said.

Still the Republican deployment of the “nuclear option” to get around a Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch has aggravated the partisanship in the Senate, where collegiality and compromise was found more often than in the U.S. House.

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04/06/17 06:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Westporter to Face Senate Scrutiny of His Bid to Head FDA

By Ana Radelat

Washington– Sen. Chris Murphy will introduce Scott Gottlieb, a Westport resident and candidate to head the Food and Drug Administration, to fellow members of the Senate panel that’s key to his confirmation – but that won’t keep the nominee from having a bit of a rough ride among Democrats. Image
Scott Gottlieb: Westporter awaits Senate confirmation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) American Enterprise Institute photo

At Wednesday’s confirmation hearing by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Murphy is expected to talk about Gottlieb’s career as a doctor – he once practiced at Stamford Hospital – and of his prior experience at the FDA.

Fellow Democrats on the HELP Committee say they will scrutinize possible financial conflicts. The 44-year-old Gottlieb serves on advisory boards for several major pharmaceutical companies. President Donald Trump chose Gottlieb to head the FDA last month.

In his recent financial disclosure letter to the Department of Health and Human Services counsel for ethics, Gottlieb disclosed financial relationships with over 25 companies, many of them giants in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, including GlaxoSmithKline.

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04/04/17 07:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 31, 2017

Blumenthal: Gorsuch Unqualified Over Roe ‘Litmus Test’

By Mark Pazniokas

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal pledged today to oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court through all available means. Image
Sen. Richard Blumenthal addresses a Hartford news conference today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas/ photo

He said the Harvard-educated, conservative jurist failed during his confirmation hearings to demonstrate he is not bound by an anti-abortion litmus test imposed by President Trump.

Blumenhal said in a news conference in Hartford that Gorsuch, who had previously written of the importance of showing deference to precedent, fell outside the judicial mainstream for pointedly refusing to say if Griswold v. Connecticut and other cases establishing privacy rights central to the legalization of abortion were rightly decided.

“Instead of being forthcoming, he evaded my questions at every turn,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will vote Monday on Gorsuch.

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03/31/17 06:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Speaker Offers Phase-in Compromise on Teacher Pensions

By Keith M. Phaneuf

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz today offered a compromise on one of the stickiest points in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget: asking communities to gradually assume a portion of skyrocketing teacher pension costs.

Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, suggested cities and towns assume one-third of these pension costs — or possibly less — but do so in stages over the next five fiscal years.

The speaker offered this alternative during a panel discussion on state finances with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, and Malloy budget director Ben Barnes.

The panel was the opening event at state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier’s 2017 Public Finance Outlook Conference at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

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03/29/17 03:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Congress Considers L.I. Sound Program Trump Wants to Defund

By Ana Radelat

Washington — Even as President Donald Trump wants to strip all money from the program, a key congressional committee today moved on a bill that would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to spend $65 million a year on cleanup of Long Island Sound.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee considered the “Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act,” a bill cosponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, all Democrats.

The bill would reauthorize a number of projects in the Sound for five years including the Long Island Sound Study, the EPA’s Connecticut-New York partnership established in 1985 to oversee restoration of Long Island Sound.

Erin Crotty, the executive director of Audubon New York, testified in support of the legislation, saying the federal money it provides leverages many times more in funding form local and state governments and private donors.

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03/28/17 08:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Lawmakers Set Aside Partisanship to Back Bioscience Industry

By Keith M. Phaneuf

While partisan politics has bogged down many state legislative debates, Democratic and Republican leaders announced today they can agree on how to better support and plan the growth of Connecticut’s bioscience industry.

Top leaders in the Senate and on the Commerce Committee highlighted three bills that develop a strategy to elevate Connecticut to a national leader in biomedical research.

“Connecticut is locked in a global competition to create good-paying jobs and support high-growth industries,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said. “… Connecticut possesses all of the ingredients to capitalize on the exponential growth that is set to occur in precision medicine and biomedical research.”

“We have an incredible workforce in our state and Connecticut should always be looking at new ways to support those workers and to grow new job opportunities,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano of North Haven.

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03/28/17 04:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sessions Immigration Threat Could Cost CT Millions in Federal Grants

By Ana Radelat

Washington — Attorney General Jeff Sessions today threatened to strip Justice Department law enforcement grants from states and cities that do not cooperate completely with federal immigration authorities, which could put millions of dollars received by Connecticut and several of its cities at risk.

The state, and cities including Hartford and New Haven, do not comply with all federal “detainers” — requests to keep jailed immigrants detained for 48 hours after their scheduled release so federal immigration officials can pick them up for deportation. Connecticut law enforcement also has been told by Gov. Dannel Malloy they don’t have to ask those apprehended or detained about their immigration status.

Sessions said these “sanctuaries” for immigrants could also see a “clawback’” of policing money that already has been distributed by the Justice Department. The Office of Justice Programs gives out more than $4 billion in grants every year, including tens of millions of dollars to the state of Connecticut and its cities and towns.

“I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said at a White House news conference. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.”

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03/27/17 10:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Thanks to Westporters Image
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, flanked by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, and the Westport organizers of today’s march for democracy, thanks the crowd for their participation in the event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/26/17 02:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Signs Aplenty Image
There were signs of all kinds in today’s democracy march through Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/26/17 12:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Letter: BOF Members Say Tell State Westport Is Not Its Piggy Bank

(Editor’s note: The following letter is from six Board of Finance members. Member John Hartwell decided not to participate)

Dear Westport Resident:

Westport has worked hard to prudently manage its finances and tax base. All branches of our town government, many elected officials and volunteers, have worked collaboratively, on behalf of all residents, to ensure we have a high quality of life at a cost all residents and businesses can afford. Sadly, maintaining this balance will be more difficult in the future.   

Today we are faced with grim economic news from the State of Connecticut. This is not a one-off problem and it will continue for years to come. Because of our state government’s inability to manage its budget and to control spending resulting in a projected deficit of over $1.5 billion next year alone, Westport finds itself in a difficult position.

Instead of tackling a state government that has grown too large and too expensive for the residents of Connecticut, the state is largely trying to solve its budget problems by shifting costs to towns. 

First, the state is decreasing or totally eliminating payments it has made to Westport for either education or other services which equals $3 million-$4 million in 2018 alone. We assume this revenue from the state, which directly supplemented our operating budgets, is permanently gone.

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03/26/17 11:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dems Eyeing Sales Tax Increase

By Keith M. Phaneuf

While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy continues to push spending cuts as the chief solution to Connecticut’s latest budget crisis, his fellow Democrats on one key panel say a more balanced mix of reductions and revenue might be unavoidable.

With more than $1.2 billion in uncertainties in each year of Malloy’s two-year plan, Democratic leaders of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee are exploring a sales tax increase to stabilize finances in the next two fiscal years.

“I don’t think raising taxes is anybody’s first choice,” said Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford. “But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say we weren’t looking at some revenue.”

“From the beginning I said this was a three-legged stool,” Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, said. “We need to help the cities. That means we also have to help many of our towns. And we still need to balance the state budget.”

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03/24/17 12:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 23, 2017

As GOP Health Care Plan Falters, CT Dems Watch and Wait

By Ana Radelat

Washington —  President Donald Trump and House Republicans are making both threats and promises to try to salvage the GOP health care bill — but the deal-making is all on the Republican side of the aisle, with Connecticut’s all-Democratic congressional delegation sitting on the sidelines.

“This is horse-trading right now,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. “They are going back and forth until they can get the votes.”

While Democrats are not sitting at the negotiating table, that doesn’t mean Connecticut’s lawmakers were idle. They joined a Democratic strategy to intensify attacks on the GOP plan, which would cut federal Medicaid funding to states and result in an additional 24 million uninsured by 2026, according the Congressional Budget Office.

About 85,000 Connecticut residents receive subsidies to purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and another 217,000 get care through the law’s expansion of Medicaid.

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03/23/17 09:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

New Dem Deputy Registrar Sworn In Image
Nicole Klein (c) has been sworn in as new Westport Democratic deputy registrar of voters. She replaces Nancy Saipe who stepped down after six years as deputy. Pictured after her swearing in are: (l-r) Colleen Tarpey, assistant town clerk; Patty Strauss, town clerk; Klein, Marla Cowden, Democratic registrar of voters, Kevin White, Republican registrar of voters, and Ruth Cavayero, deputy town clerk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/23/17 11:34 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Joe Mioli Honored in Hartford Image
The legislature’s Italian-American Legislative Caucus today presented longtime Westporter Joe Mioli—co-owner of the Westport Pizzeria and who served as the town’s state representative from 2004 to 2010—with an official General Assembly citation for his “promotion and prosperity of the Italian culture and history.” Mioli has been active with the Italian-American caucus’ education fund. Joining Mioli were his successor, state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, and state Sen. Toni Boucher, who represents a portion of Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/22/17 08:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Westport March on Sunday ‘to Defend Democracy’

Westport Democrats tonight heard about plans for a march through Westport on Sunday “to defend democracy.” Image
Lauren Soloff: addressing DTC tonight. photo

It is officially billed as “CT on the Move March to Defend Democracy — One Small State, One Big Voice.”

The Westport Democratic Town Committee (DTC) is a co-sponsor of the event that will feature addresses by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

One of the organizers of the march, Lauren Soloff, told a meeting of the DTC at Town Hall tonight the event will go on rain or shine.

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03/21/17 10:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Steinberg: Malloy Teacher Pension Plan ‘Not Going to Happen’ Image
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (r) told a meeting of the Westport Democratic Town Committee (DTC) tonight that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy “doesn’t have the votes” to push through his plan to make municipalities responsible for paying a portion of teacher pensions. “It’s not going to happen,” he said, adding that Democrats will have to find revenues elsewhere. At the same meeting, Board of Education Chair Michael Gordon said the board will seek full or partial restoration of the $1.67 million cut from its budget last week by the Board of Finance. “There’s not a scenario in the world that we could sustain a $1.67 million cut” without seriously impacting children’s education, he said. The finance board will consider the request at its Wednesday, April 5 meeting.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


03/21/17 09:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 20, 2017

Himes: Manafort, Stone Likely Witnesses in Congress’ Russia Probe

By Ana Radelat

Washington — U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said today Connecticut natives Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager, and Roger Stone, a self-described Trump campaign consultant, are likely to be key witnesses as the House Intelligence Committee continues its investigation of Russian hacking and the U.S. elections.

“I certainly would put him at the top of the list,” Himes, D-4th District, said of Manafort, a New Britain native.

As far as Stone, who comes from Norwalk, Himes told reporters, ”He had a bizarre ability to predict what Wikileaks was going to do next.”

Last summer, Wikileaks released hacked e-mails of the Democratic National Committee that may have hurt Hillary Clinton’s efforts to win the White House.

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03/20/17 07:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Himes Quizzes Comey at Outset of Intelligence Hearing Image
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, today questioned FBI Director James Comey at the outset of a committee hearing looking into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Comey said there was no information supporting President Trump’s tweet that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Among the communities Himes represents is Westport, where Comey is a former resident and an officer of Westport’s Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo from CNN


03/20/17 11:16 AM Comments () • Permalink

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